This month begins with one of the more audacious novels to come along in some time, never mind that it’s also a debut. An Igbo and Tamil writer raised in Nigeria, now living, working and based "in liminal spaces" in New York, Akwaeke Emezi is here tonight with Freshwater (Grove).
“In her mind-blowing debut, Emezi weaves traditional Igbo myth that turns the well-worn narrative of mental illness on its head, and in doing so she has ensured a place on the literary-fiction landscape as a writer to watch . . . Emezi’s brilliance lies not just in her expert handling of the conflicting voices in Ada’s head but in delivering an entirely different perspective on just what it means to go slowly mad. Complex and dark, this novel will simultaneously challenge and reward lovers of literary fiction. A must-read.” —Booklist.
“In Emezi’s remarkable debut novel, Freshwater, we enter the lives of our protagonist, starting in Nigeria and ending in the United States. Every page is imbued with radiant prose, and a chorus of poetic voices. With a plot as alive and urgent as it is relatable, Freshwater is also solidly its own, brims with its unique preoccupations. Never before have I read a novel like it—one that speaks to the unification and separation of bodies and souls, the powers or lack thereof of gods and humans, and the long and arduous journey to claiming our many selves, or to setting our many selves free.” —Chinelo Okparanta, joined by Taiye Salasi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Tananarive Due, Esmé Weijun Wang, Daniel José Older, and Binyavanga Wainaina in early praise.